NOAA Air Resources Laboratory

Quarterly Activity Report

FY2014 Quarter 1

(October - December, 2013)

 

Contents

 

Dispersion and Boundary Layer

1. NOAA Hosted WMO RSMC Meeting

2. New Capability Developed for NWS Forecasters

3. FOCAL - Alaska Study

4. Transport and Dispersion Modeling

5. Project Sagebrush

6. Birch Creek Valley Study

7. Tennessee Tracer Study

8. Improvements to Dispersion Modeling and Meteorological Display

9. Consequence Assessment for the Nevada National Security Site

 

Air Quality

10. HYSPLIT Model Back Trajectories

11. Air-Surface Exchange Studies

 

Climate

12. Climate Engineering Detectability Study

13. Climate Reference Networks (CRN and USRCRN)

14. Soil Water Budget Model

 

ARL 1st Quarter Publications

Awards, Honors, Recognition

Outreach


 

DISPERSION AND BOUNDARY LAYER

1. NOAA Hosted WMO RSMC Meeting

Glenn Rolph, Roland Draxler, and Barbara Stunder participated in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Basic Systems Expert Team on Emergency Response Activities meeting at the University of Maryland Alumni Center and the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP), in College Park, MD.The purpose of the meeting was to review the relevant decisions of the sixty-fifth session of the WMO Executive Council and statements adopted by the fifteenth session of the Commission for Basic Systems.Representatives from each of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMCs) with activity specialization in Atmospheric Transport Modelling and Regional Telecommunications Hub Offenbach presented the status of their respective implementations in relation to the Regional and Global Arrangements, which have been maintained in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).In addition, the RSMCs responsible for both nuclear and non-nuclear emergency response activities reviewed the status of recent meeting action items. Representatives from IAEA, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization also provided a briefing on their respective roles and the relevance of meteorological information being made available by WMO RSMCs in relation to their respective decision making processes. Meeting participants toured the NCWCP building with special emphasis on the ARL dispersion modeling capability and the operational capabilities of the National Weather Service. glenn.rolph@noaa.gov

 

2. New Capability Developed for NWS Forecasters

National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters indicated that they were having difficulty providing all the HYSPLIT model graphics to their customers using email due to the large file sizes and some file extensions.To address this problem, ARL began development, in collaboration with the Web Operations Center (WOC) personnel, of a web site that could be provided to emergency managers to give them direct access to a web page similar to that forecasters use to display the HYSPLIT model results.This new capability is currently being tested by several forecasters and should be available to all forecasters in January, 2014. glenn.rolph@noaa.gov

 

3. FOCAL- Alaska Study

The Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion (ATDD) rendered the data collected from the Flux Observations of Carbon from an Airborne Laboratory (FOCAL) Alaska Study as meteorologically useful.ATDD produced values of methane flux about 20 percent lower than those collected from ATDD's surface site, located near the flight transect in similar terrain. This result shows that the data are sufficiently good for use in preliminary scientific analysis, at least after some adjustments to better coordinate the multiple raw data streams feeding the nonlinear computations. ATDD also identified areas for improvement for next year's deployment. Results from the FOCAL - Alaska Study were presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in December 2013. ron.dobosy@noaa.gov, E. Dumas, B. Baker, and J. Kochendorfer

 

4. Transport and Dispersion Modeling

We received informal notification that the review of the HYSPLIT Radiological Software Quality Assurance plan (HYRad SQA) and its gap analysis were successfully completed. The successful review means that HYRAD has been accepted for inclusion in the DOE Emergency Managers Issues Special Interest Group (EMI SIG) Subcommittee on Consequence Assessment and Protective Actions (SCAPA) Consequence Assessment Model Toolbox. The appropriate documentation and other protocols required by the Toolbox have been maintained since the second quarter of FY2013 when the package was submitted for review. dennis.finn@noaa.gov

 

5. Project Sagebrush

The Field Research Division began Phase 1 of Project Sagebrush. The University of Tennessee Space Institute's Piper Navajo aircraft was fitted with a Trace Gas Analyzer (TGA) for sampling the SF6 tracer used in the project. Although the weather did not cooperate, three tracer releases were made during the first week of October which the UTSI aircraft could participate in. Due to continued bad weather, FRD extended Phase 1 an additional week to conduct two more releases without the aircraft. This entailed reducing the tracer release rate and moving some of the tracer samplers closer to the source. Overall, the one-week extension of the study allowed FRD to meet its original objective of completing five successful tracer releases.

 

Quality control and assurance analyses of the bag sampler tracer data set for allfive tests have been largely completed and data has been flagged appropriately or corrected as necessary. This process should be completed early in the next quarter. Quality control and assurance analyses of the fast-response tracer data set began but were not yet completed.

 

A preliminary consolidation and review of the extensive suite of Project Sagebrush meteorological measurements has been completed. A much more detailed analysis of the meteorological data will be conducted when the tracer data become available in order to link observed tracer plume dispersion with measured turbulence and other meteorological data. The Grid 3 tall tower was heavily instrumented for Project Sagebrush with additional sonic anemometers provided by FRD and additional extensive turbulence and energy balance instrumentation provided by Washington State University. All of the tower instrumentation will remain in place indefinitely in an ongoing study of the structure of vertical turbulence in a wide range of meteorological conditions.

 

An abstract "Project Sagebrush: Revisiting Short-range Dispersion Using Modern Instrumentation" by Rick Eckman, Kirk Clawson, Dennis Finn, and Roger Carter was accepted for an oral presentation at the 2014 American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The presentation will give an overview of the project and some preliminary results from Phase 1.richard.eckman@noaa.gov, Kirk Clawson, Dennis Finn, and Roger Carter

 

6. Birch Creek Valley study

The Field Research Division (FRD) began analysis of the Birch Creek dataset. This dataset includes data acquired by FRD staff on the monthly/seasonal changes in diurnal flow patterns, especially with respect to the interaction between mountain valley flows and flows on the Snake River Plain. FRD also conducted a preliminary analysis of data on individual wind events featuring unusual flow patterns and abrupt temporal and/or spatial changes. Further analyses of this data will be conducted pending the availability of the higher spatial resolution datasets acquired by our USFS Fire Sciences Laboratory partners.The Fire Sciences Laboratory anticipates their data will be available around March, 2014. dennis.finn@noaa.gov

 

7. Tennessee Tracer Study

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is proposing to install a modular nuclear reactor at a site near Oak Ridge, TN. A fast breeder reactor was planned at this site back in the 1970s, but that reactor was ultimately canceled. As part of the planning for the modular reactor, there has been some discussion about conducting a tracer study at the proposed site. A preliminary meeting in Oak Ridge is planned for the spring of 2014 to discuss developing a proposal for a tracer study. The University of Tennessee Space Institute is involved in the planning after their successful use of FRD's tracer equipment in their aircraft during Project Sagebrush. richard.eckman@noaa.gov, Kirk Clawson

 

8. Improvements to Dispersion Modeling and Meteorological Display

FRD began transitioning away from MDIFF and INLViz for its dispersion modeling and meteorological display.HYSPLIT and Viz+ are the primary replacements for these two applications and are intended for users needing more sophisticated capabilities.HYSPLIT expands substantially on MDIFF's concentrations calculations.In addition to concentration, HYSPLIT will calculate dose and deposition directly.Viz+ expands INLViz capabilities by providing data in daily chunks as opposed to 5 minute chunks.This provides the ability to display daily graphical and summary data.By using Google Maps, both applications provide more sophisticated mapping displays.These are but a few of the many improvements these new applications provide.For users needing just current weather conditions, FRD has replaced the windvector page with a new page, also built around Google Maps. The URL for this new web page is http://www.noaa.inel.gov/mvp/iviz.This page is also accessible from FRD's NIWC page. brad.reese@noaa.gov

 

9. Consequence Assessment for the Nevada National Security Site

The Special Operations and Research Division (SORD) participated in an emergency response exercise as the Consequence Assessment Team for the NNSA Nevada Field Office.The exercise was conducted on the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).In this exercise, SORD provided site specific weather data and weather forecasts, and generated dispersion products based on the worst case event scenario information provided for the facility involved.The exercise event was a transportation accident in a warehouse which created a chemical spill.SORD also performed its role as Weather Subject Matter Experts. kip.smith@noaa.gov, Rick Lantrip, James Wood, Walt Schalk

 

AIR QUALITY

10. HYSPLIT Model Back Trajectories

Ariel Stein collaborated with Dr. Francois De Vleeschouwer from EcoLab, France to determine the origin of geological samples taken in southern South America. A series of HYSPLIT back trajectory runs were performed for 60 years to determine the sources of metals that have been deposited in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The results of this work will be submitted to Nature Communication as a research paper. ariel.stein@noaa.gov

 

11. Air-Surface Exchange Studies

LaToya Myles and Mark Heuer, along with Jason Caldwell and Daryl Sibble from the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center, prepared for a spring 2014 deployment of instruments to measure ammonia emissions from fertilized maize at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) Energy Farm.A detailed sampling plan and QA/QC document were finalized and shared with collaborators at UIUC.In addition, the team explored the use of the SURFATM model, a bi-directional model for heat and pollutant exchange between the biosphere and the atmosphere partitioning the soil and the plant layers. SURFATM could be used to simulate bidirectional exchange of ammonia. latoya.myles@noaa.gov

 

LaToya Myles continued to co-chair NOAA's Ecosystem Research Strategy Committee.The Committee provided status updates to the NOAA Research Council and the R&D Enterprise Committee.In addition, the Committee agreed to host a roundtable discussion to identify ecosystem research priorities for a demonstration pilot in the Gulf of Mexico. latoya.myles@noaa.gov

Rick Saylor continued his participation as the NOAA member on the Steering Committee for the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network. IMPROVE is a national interagency aerosol and visibility monitoring network designed to establish current visibility conditions in U. S. National Parks and Wilderness Areas and track changes in visibility and determine causal mechanisms for visibility impairment in these areas.  Members of the Steering Committee are able to obtain updates on network status, new technologies slated for network implementation, new data analyses and to make recommendations on network operations.  This network is important for NOAA research on atmospheric chemistry, air quality forecasting and the relationship between air quality and climate change. rick.saylor@noaa.gov

CLIMATE

 

12. Climate Engineering Detectability Study

ARL's Dian Seidel and colleagues from NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory (Graham Feingold and Andy Jacobson) and from NASA Langley Research Center (Norman Loeb) completed a study on the ability of scientists to detect an increase in Earth's albedo caused by a potential climate engineering experiment or program. Some climate engineering proposals are aimed at deliberately increasing the refection of sunlight away from Earth to counteract warming due to greenhouse gasses, for example by injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere, by modifying clouds, or by changing the land surface characteristics of cultivated or built environments. The main finding of the study is that detection of albedo increases would be limited by the variability of the climate system, so that only very large interventions could be unambiguously detected, assuming current satellite observations of incoming and reflected sunlight are continued in the future.  Dian presented a talk on this research at the American Geophysical Union 2013 Fall Meeting in December 2013, and a poster presentation will be given at the SPARC (Stratosphere-Troposphere Processes and their Role in Climate) General Assembly (January 2014). A "Perspectives" article on this work will be published in Nature Climate Change. dian.seidel@noaa.gov

 

13. Climate Reference Networks (CRN and USRCRN)

ATDD staff made twenty-four site visits, including a visit to the Marshall Test Site in Colorado and visits to Alabama to handle rain gauges. mark.e.hall@noaa.gov

 

14. Soil Water Budget Model

Tim Wilson continued development of a soil water budget model to quantify the surplus, sufficiency, and deficit of soil water conditions, which are important to water resources in the U.S. The model is being developed as a simple, semi-empirical model to estimate the change in soil water based on soil moisture and climate observations from the USCRN sites. Preliminary model test results indicate that changes in the soil water content occur from the combined effect of complicated dynamic processes related to variations in the climate, vegetation and soil. tim.wilson@noaa.gov

 

ARL 1st Quarter Publications

Published:

 

Chai, T., H. C. Kim, P. Lee, D. Tong, L. Pan, Y. Tang, J. Huang, J. McQueen, M. Tsidulko, and I. Stajner (2013). Evaluation of the United States National Air Quality Forecast Capability experimental real-time predictions in 2010 using Air Quality System ozone and NO2 measurements. Geoscientific Model Development6 (5), 1831-1850. doi:10.5194/gmd-6-1831-2013.

 

Cheng, FY, Z.M. Yang, C.F. Ou-Yang, and F. Ngan (2013). A numerical study of the dependence of long-range transport of CO to a mountain station in Taiwan on synoptic weather patter during the Southeast Asia biomass-burning season. Atmospheric Environment. 78:277-290. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.03.020.

 

Free, M. and B. Sun (2013). Time-varying biases in U.S. total cloud cover data. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 30, 2838-2849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-13-00026.1

 

Hegarty, J., R. Draxler, A. Stein, J. Brioude, M. Mountain, J. Eluszkiewicz, T. Nehrkorn, F. Ngan, and A. Andrews (2013). Evaluation of Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Models with Measurements from Controlled Tracer Releases. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology.  52, 2623-2637. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-13-0125.1

 

Lee, B. H., E. C. Wood, S. C. Herndon, B. L. Lefer, W. T. Luke, W. H. Brune, D. D. Nelson, M. S. Zahniser, and J. W. Munger (2013). Urban measurements of atmospheric nitrous acid: A caveat on the interpretation of the HONO photostationary state, Journal of Geophysical Research -Atmospheres. 118, 21, 12,274-12,281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2013JD020341

 

Milford, C., N. Castell, C. Marrero, S. Rodríguez, A.M. Sánchez de la Campa, R. Fernández-Camacho, J. de la Rosa, A. F. Stein (2013). Measurements and simulation of speciated PM2.5 in south-west Europe.Atmospheric Environment. 77: 36-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.04.050

 

Ngan, F., H. Kim, P. Lee, B. Dornblaser, and K. Al-Wali (2013). A study on nocturnal surface wind speed over-prediction by the WRF-ARW model in Southeastern Texas. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. Volume 52, Issue 12, 2638-2653. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-13-060.1

 

Zhang, Y., D. J. Seidel, and S. Zhang. (2013). Trends in Planetary Boundary Layer Height over Europe. Journal of Climate. 26 (24), 10071-10076. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00108.1

 

Worton, David R.  Jason D. Surratt, Brian W. LaFranchi, Arthur W. H. Chan, Yunliang Zhao, Robin J. Weber, Jeong-Hoo Park, Jessica B. Gilman, Joost de GouwChanghyoun Park, Gunnar Schade, Melinda Beaver, Jason M. St. Clair, John Crounse, Paul Wennberg, Glenn M. Wolfe, Sara Harrold, Joel A. Thornton, Delphine K. Farmer, Kenneth S. Docherty, Michael J. Cubison, Jose-Luis Jimenez, Amanda A. Frossard, Lynn M. Russell, Kasper Kristensen, Marianne GlasiusJingqiu Mao, Xinrong Ren, William Brune, Eleanor C. Browne, Sally E. Pusede, Ronald C. Cohen, John H. Seinfeld, and Allen H. Goldstein (2013) Observational Insights into Aerosol Formation from Isoprene. Environmental Science & Technology 47(20):11403-11413. doi:10.1021/es4011064

 

Conference Presentations

Barbara Stunder presented a poster "A new web site for running HYSPLIT for volcanic ash" at the 2nd International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) - World Meteorological Organization (WMO) workshop on ash dispersal forecast and civil aviation, in Geneva, Switzerland.  The poster described the quantitative volcanic ash HYSPLIT simulations that may be run in READY (http://www.ready.noaa.gov/HYSPLIT_ash.php).The purpose of the meeting was to provide updates on the current status of research and capabilities since the 1st meeting which was held 3 years ago in the aftermath of the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland, and to facilitate and promote interaction among the international community of meteorological and volcanological experts dealing with the ash and aviation safety issue.

 

Ariel Stein presented two talks on Western U.S. Monitoring and Analysis: Progress and Current Issues at the 2013 National Atmospheric Deposition Program Annual Fall Meeting and Scientific Symposium in Park City, Utah.

 

Rick Saylor presented a poster at the International Aerosol Modeling Algorithms bi-annual conference at the University of California-Davis.  The poster, entitled "Secondary Organic Aerosol Concentrations and Fluxes from an Isoprene Emission Dominated Forest Canopy" documents continued application of the Atmospheric Chemistry and Canopy Exchange Simulation System (ACCESS) to data obtained at the Walker Branch Watershed flux tower in 1999.  In this work, levels of background NOx concentrations were found to significantly influence both the magnitude and chemical composition of fluxes of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) precursors from the canopy and may influence the pathways by which SOA formation occurs.  

 

American Geophysical Union Meeting:

 

Praveena Krishnan presented "Comparison of in-situ, aircraft, and satellite based land surface temperature measurements over a mixed agricultural region" by Praveena Krishnan; Bruce Baker; John Kochendorfer; Edward Dumas; Tilden P. Meyers; Pierre Guillevic; Stephan Corda; John Muratore; and Devon Simmons. The presentation was on the land surface temperature measurements made during the campaign mode experiments conducted over a mixed agricultural area near Bondville, Illinois during 2012 and 2013.

 

John Kochendorfer presented "Flux Of Carbon from an Airborne Laboratory (FOCAL): Synergy of airborne and surface measures of carbon emission and isotopologue content from tundra landscape in Alaska" by Ron Dobosy, Ed Dumas, D. S. Sayres, and John Kochendorfer. 

LaToya Myles presented "Sources and Sinks: Ammonia Flux in Agricultural Ecosystems." LaToya was also a co-convener of a poster session entitled Opening Doors to Geoscience Research Through Experiential Learning Opportunities.

 

Awards, Honors, Recognition

Winston Luke, and colleagues from the National Weather Service, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, received the Department of Commerce 2013 Silver Medal Award for exceptional team achievements in creating the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP), a state-of-the-art facility that enhances our ability to meet our global atmospheric challenges.The Silver Medal is the second highest honorary award granted by the Secretary of Commerce. The Silver Medal is defined as exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy or superlative contributions which have a direct and lasting impact within the Department.


Outreach

Kip Smith, Phil Abbott, and Walt Schalk made final plans and preparations to "go live" with a new SORD website on January 7, 2014.The new website will feature the ability of the user to select the weather parameters to view, user selected lightning strike time windows and facility distance rings, and Google Map backgrounds and features.

 

James Wood and Walt Schalk gave a brief talk and demonstration of SORD capabilities and responsibilities to the Federal Nuclear Expertise Program.The talk was held outside at the Desert Rock Weather Observatory on the Nevada National Security Site.A PIBAL balloon was released as part of the demonstration.Attendees represented DOE/NNSA Headquarters and the DOE/NNSA National Laboratories.